Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Futurists-Axis and Allies EP

November 1, 2005

Band Name: The Futurists
Album Name: Axis and Allies EP
Best Element: Strong, developed indie-rock sound
Genre: Indie-rock
Website: www.thefuturists.net
Label Name: n/a
Band E-mail: band@thefuturists.net

It is difficult to write a review for this EP, because I’ve been listening to the songs on this EP for months while waiting for this EP to get formally released. These songs have pretty much become a staple of my listening, right along side my Death Cab and System of a Down (odd, I know- but it’s the truth). And in the same way that it’s difficult to criticize System because they’re so darn innovative, or criticize Death Cab because their sound is so immaculately thoughtful and melodic, it’s hard to criticize the Futurists because they’re so amazingly together.

The Futurists don’t have any of the flaws that plague the early stages of the indie-rock band. Their vocalist has an immense range, is almost always on top of tone, hits the notes he goes for, and has the confident swagger of a mature front-man. When he hits falsetto in “The Superhero”, it’s spine-tingling. When he mocks his target in the unabashed “Dare I Say?”, it’s perfectly done. There’s just nothing to knock in the vocal performance.

The band backs it up, to say the least. They have an uncanny hold on how their sound fits together, and they seem to know their instruments inside and out. Whether it’s laying down a bombastic track that just torches the place (“Amaranthine”), building up an epic (“The Superhero”), or rocking out a song so good that they split it into two parts (“Masquerade” and “Masquerade Pt. 2”), they just know their stuff.

The guitars are heavy, but not so heavy that you can’t hear individual notes within the chords. When they go for solos, they aren’t gaudy- they fit with the sound in brilliant ways (see the fist pumping, finger-burning solo on “Amaranthine”). The riffs themselves are pounding, pulsing, and generally awesome. They never fall into repetition, and every single riff on the EP is ear-catching and repeatable. The bass and guitars work in tandem to achieve this effect, actually lending credence to the mantra that the bass is supposed to help out the guitars.

The drummer is extremely talented- knowing exactly what to put to the music to accomplish a certain feel. In “Amaranthine” he throws down a nearly dance-rock beat that gives the song the extra boost it needs to be the best track on the album (it happens again on the solo section in “Film Noir”). On “The Superhero”, he slowly builds his drum part along with the rest of the instruments to achieve the intense climax that they hit. The swagger of “Dare I Say?” is largely provided by the drums, and the straight-forward, punch-in-the-face rock of “Film Noir” is definitely held together by the solid beats provided.

Basically, The Futurists are the best guitar/guitar/bass/drums band I’ve heard in a long, long time. When you can break new ground in today’s over-crowded indie-rock world armed with nothing but the most basic of setups, you’re onto something good. And that’s exactly what the Futurists have done with the Axis and Allies EP- burned up the competition with nothing more than the stuff your band’s got in its practice space. They really are the future.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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